CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — FreightWaves and CO.LAB, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurial growth in southeast Tennessee, are cohosting the inaugural FreightTech Innovation Challenge: A 24-Hour Transportation and Logistics Use Case Competition on March 29-30, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
College students from across the U.S. will spend two days working to solve challenges facing the transportation and logistics industries with the chance to win cash prizes and find potential employers. The team that places first in the competition will receive $5,000, followed by $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place.
The event will take place at FreightWaves’ new office and event space, which officially opens this spring, which has been named “Freight Alley.” Representatives from leading companies in the industry, some of whom are sponsors of the event, will be on hand to network with students to mentor the teams while scouting for future talent.
“This is a chance for college students to not only win a prize, but to jump-start an exciting career in the freight tech sector,” said Craig Fuller, CEO and Founder of FreightWaves.
The collaboration between CO.LAB and FreightWaves is a pairing of FreightWaves’ expertise and its industry network with CO.LAB’s experience in developing fast-paced competitions that focus on building talent pipelines. CO.LAB has produced several versions of 48Hour Launch, a community-driven competition designed to produce business concepts or prototypes in one weekend, and it has cohosted 24Hour Generator with Chattanooga’s Girls Preparatory School, which brings together local female high school and middle school students to work on real business challenges.
“This collaboration with FreightWaves is an incredible opportunity to show the country’s upcoming talent what Chattanooga has to offer,” said Marcus Shaw, CEO of CO.LAB. “By the end of the event, we believe we will see students not only take away a great learning experience but also new relationships that can impact their career trajectory.”
Chattanooga, nicknamed “The Scenic City” due to its beauty and outdoor recreation, has in recent years become a new hub for startups and large companies, particularly in the transportation and logistics industries due to its location in relation to freight traffic in the Southeast. Logistics contributes to more than 40 percent of the local economy, and 1.25 million of the region’s 37 million people are employed by the transportation sector. Of those, 230,000 are heavy-duty truck drivers.
“Chattanooga is the beating heart of Freight Alley, so I can’t think of a better place to bring together bright minds from across the country to help solve some of our industry’s most perplexing challenges,” Fuller said.
Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, spent a day touring Chattanooga’s startup community, which included a roundtable with leaders in the transportation and logistics industries.
“If you start a company there [in Chattanooga] to serve the trucking industry, you have more expertise about what the needs are, and more customers and partners there in Chattanooga as opposed to New York City, Boston and San Francisco,” Case said in an interview on PBS last fall.
Students interested in business, supply chain, technology, computer science, data and logistics can apply to colab.co/freighttechchallenge. The deadline to apply is March 8.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.